OCEAN CITY — Regis Philbin, a popular talk show and game show host for five decades, will be in town as master of ceremonies for the fourth annual Mr. Mature America Pageant in April, Ocean City officials announced Tuesday, Feb. 14.
Earlier in the day, Philbin will also serve as grand marshal in the Doo Dah Parade, Ocean City’s season-opening celebration of all things wacky.
Organizers said in a press release that Philbin’s quick wit and likable personality will be a perfect fit for Ocean City’s pageant, which mixes self-deprecating humor with nostalgia and talent in a tribute to men ages 55 and older. Philbin will conduct on-stage interviews with contestants.
The 85-year-old is perhaps most known as the longtime host of the nationally syndicated talk show "Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee" starting in 1988. The show become "Live! with Regis and Kelly" in 2001 and later featured NFL hall-of-famer Michael Strahan after Philbin left the show in 2011.
Philbin also debuted and hosted "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" and hosted "Million Dollar Password" and the first season of "America's Got Talent."
The Mr. Mature America Pageant includes competition in talent, judge’s interview, poise and appearance, and on-stage question. Officials are accepting applications for men 55 or older interested in competing. To apply, complete an online form at ocnj.us/mrmature. For more information call Michael Hartman at 609-525-9284.
The pageant is set for 7 p.m. Saturday, April 8 on the Ocean City Music Pier. The event is the first and only pageant of its kind in the United States, according to officials. The Flanders Hotel will again sponsor the event, catering meals for contestants and offering special rates for attendees during the pageant weekend.
Tickets for the show will cost $25 to $35 and will go on sale in early March.
The Doo Dah Parade was first held in Ocean City in 1986 as an event to herald the end of income tax season, according to organizers. Started by longtime public relations director Mark Soifer, it featured unusual entries like beach chair drill teams and fan clubs of legendary comedians. The route has always been the same. The parade begins on Asbury Avenue at Sixth Street, proceeds to 12th Street and turns east to the boardwalk. It ends in front of the Music Pier at Boardwalk and Moorlyn Terrace. For more than a decade, the parade has been anchored by more than 500 dogs from the Basset Hound Rescue League.
Registration to walk the parade is available at ocnj.us/doo-dah-parade and open to any individuals or groups who would like to participate. The parade starts at noon on April 8. Dietz and Watson will return as a sponsor.